Leaving from Lake Taupoto Rotorua a two-hour bus ride. I took Intercity again, the cost was NZD 10. I stayed at my last YHA, Rotorua Backpackers. The cost was NZD 62.5 per night for a private room shared bathroom, including 10% off with the YHA membership ($25/year) which I recommend getting if you’re staying in NZ for a while.
Day 1 – Redwoods 02.16.2020
My classmate from my Master’s program had moved to Tauranga after graduating for a job. I had told him I was going to be in Rotorua on Sunday so he made the hour drive to meet up one last time. We didn’t have too much plan other than to get a beer and a bite to eat. Looking up on TripAdvisor I saw that Rotorua had Redwoods, which I had thought were only in California.
The Redwoods were planted in New Zealand in 1901. You can read more about it here if you’re interested. The Whakarewarewa Forest Park is free to walk around and see the Redwoods. There is a Redwoods Tree Walk for NZD 30 for those of you that are interested.
Walking around through the park I finally got to see the famous New Zealand Silver Fern. It was hard to tell in photos but regardless two days left on my time in New Zealand and I finally saw one. After I stopped at the Rotorua i-site to book a trip for tomorrow. Everything I was interested in was sold out on BookMe.
Day 2 – Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland 02.17.2020
On my last full day in New Zealand, stopping in Rotorua I wanted to do one thing and that visited the Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland or as I refer to it as the Yellowstone NP of New Zealand. The cost was NZD 100. The park is a half-hour drive from Rotorua and we made a few stops along the way. The first stop was the waterfall spout bath, which had a sign that gave me a huge wake-up call and a panic attack after I touched the water and then touched my face. The sign reads “Do not put head in water – amoebic meningitis is fatal and caused by water entering nasal passages”. I’m fine, but definitely wasn’t something I wanted to read after touching the water.
The next stop was Lady Knox Geyser which turns out is not really a geyser but technically is but isn’t. We were one of the first groups there so I was able to sit as close as possible. The show goes on for about 30 minutes of talking and then when you think the Geyser is going to erupt one of the guides brings over a box of soap and pours it into the geyser and then it goes off. The height of the “eruption” is dependent on the level of the water reservoir so if it’s low the geyser has a very small eruption. I rate this as, not worth my time and disappointed.
After the eruption, the tour guide brought us to the main entrance and gave us an hour, which is plenty of time to see everything in the park but a few people in our group felt rushed. Instead of writing about the park or the route I took, I think it’s best just to show the pictures I took below.
Once I got back I decided to go to the hot springs at the Polynesian Spa, the cost was NZD 32. My last night in New Zealand and I went out for a beer with Paul, a mate I met on the Waiotapu Thermal trip. We went to the Brew Pub.
Two bus rides tomorrow, one-stop in Hamilton and then the last stop at the International Airport in Auckland. I fly out to Brisbane to make one last stop before heading back home to the states. Thanks for reading and following along my year trip to New Zealand, Cheers!